The Archbishop of Uganda’s Press Statement about the Anglican Communion Crisis and GAFCON

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali
Archbishop of Church of Uganda
13th August 2013

Good Morning. I greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

I have an important message for you today. Ten years ago this month, a gay man, who was a divorced father of two children, was elected a Bishop in the Episcopal Church in America. This unbiblical decision on the part of a church threw the entire global Anglican Communion into chaos.

Two months later, the Archbishop of Canterbury convened an emergency meeting of the 38 Primates - Senior Archbishops - of the Anglican Communion to try to resolve the crisis. The Primates issued a statement that said that if the consecration of this gay man proceeded it would "tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level." Even the American Archbishop agreed to this statement.

Yet, immediately after the close of the meeting, the American Archbishop held a press conference just outside Lambeth Palace and told the world that he would proceed with the consecration. And, indeed, he did.

And, as the Primates predicted, the American consecration of a gay man as a Bishop did "tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level."

There were many attempts by the Primates of the Anglican Communion to bring discipline to the American Church, but they were not implemented. And, so the spiritual cancer has spread. It has infected the Anglican Church in Canada, the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Wales, and even the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

In America, they even have a Lesbian Bishop now! Many Dioceses in the American Episcopal Church have approved the blessing of same-sex unions. And, with their recent Supreme Court decision to recognize same-sex marriage, we expect the American Church to promote this even more.

It isn't any better in Canada - most dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada have also approved the blessing of same-sex unions.

In the UK the Civil Partnership Act was passed in 2005. It allows same-sex partners to enter into a legal relationship with all the same benefits as marriage. Sadly, the Church of England supported this bill.

In the first year after it was passed, more than 50 gay or lesbian priests were "joined" in civil partnership ceremonies and are living together in church housing. Who knows how many more have been joined in such ceremonies in the seven years since then.

In January of this year, the Church of England House of Bishops resolved that clergy in civil partnerships are eligible to become Bishops. I responded at the time by saying, "The recent decision of the [Church of England] House of Bishops to allow clergy in civil partnerships to be eligible to become Bishops is really no different from allowing gay Bishops. This decision violates our Biblical faith and agreements within the Anglican Communion. When the American Church made this decision in 2003 it tore the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level. This decision only makes the brokenness of the Communion worse and is particularly disheartening coming from the Mother Church."

I have taken time to give you this history because we are at the ten-year anniversary mark of this crisis, and I want to ask, "Where are we?"

We have a new Archbishop of Canterbury who is born again and has a testimony. I have personally met him and I like him very much.

But, the problems in the Communion are still there, and they don't change just because there is a new global leader. In fact, ten years later, the crisis has deepened. It is worse, and shows no signs of improving.

This is why the Archbishop of Nigeria, the other Archbishops of East Africa, and I have come together and decided to organize a second Global Anglican Future Conference or GAFCON. It will be held in Nairobi at All Saints' Cathedral from 21st to 26th October. The Church of Uganda will be sending 200 Delegates to this important revival meeting.

The first GAFCON - or, Global Anglican Future Conference - was held five years ago in Jerusalem, the place where our Lord Jesus lived, died, and rose again for our justification.

The first GAFCON was very significant because it created a global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans led by a Primates Council and it also called for the creation of a new Bible-believing Anglican Province in North America. That new Anglican Province has now been created and is thriving. It is called the Anglican Church in North America.

This second GAFCON conference is also very important at this time in the life of our church. We are holding it in Nairobi this time because it is closer to the majority of the Christians who make up GAFCON.

I have called you here today because I want all our Christians to know about it, to pray for it, and to support it financially.

GAFCON is to the Anglican Communion as the East African Revival was to the church in Uganda. At first it was small revival fellowships meeting outside the church structures and church services. But, as the revival spread, it became mainstream in the Church. Now, most of the Church of Uganda is led by clergy and Bishops shaped by the East African Revival.

In the same way, we are going to GAFCON 2 in Nairobi to see that the Biblical faith of GAFCON spreads like revival throughout the whole Anglican Communion, so that global Anglicanism is brought back to its Biblical and evangelistic faith.

So, I am calling on all Christians to get involved in three ways:

First, we need you to pray! Pray for me as your Archbishop. Pray for your Bishop. Pray for your clergy and lay readers that we will all uphold the authority of the Bible in our lives and in our church. Pray for the GAFCON delegates that they will return from GAFCON and lead the Church of Uganda into Biblical truth and living.

Secondly, we need your financial support to ensure that your Bishop and other key clergy, women, and lay leaders from your Diocese are able to go to GAFCON. Please go to them and offer your financial support.

Finally, we need you to ask your Bishop and GAFCON delegates to report back to you after the conference. Ask them to tell you what they are doing to keep the Anglican Church on track.

Thank you for listening. And, thank you for supporting your Church's leadership in GAFCON.

--(The Most Rev.) Stanley Ntagali is Archbishop of Uganda

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)Global South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON I 2008Instruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

23 Comments
Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Hmmm, why is it that some Anglican leaders can be so clear and forthright, while others hem and haw and hide behind carefully crafted ambiguous statements?  The tenth anniversary of the terrible debacle that was TEC’s General Convention in Minneapolis in August, 2003, does indeed provide a good opportunity for taking stock of what has happened in the tumultuous decade since.  ++Ntagali’s timeline is highly selective, of course, and it concentrates on the negative developments in the global north, but it’s helpful nonetheless.  The bottom line is abundantly clear: there can be no “reconciliation” worthy of the name without authentic repentance on the part of those deluded but sincere advocates of the pro-gay cause who have brought this chaos and devastation on Anglicanism.  A house divided against itself simply cannot stand.  Two gospels are competing for dominance in worldwide Anglicanism, and only one of them is legitimate and tolerable.  ++Ntagali is right that the relativistic and antinomian gospel of the “progressive” side is a spiritual cancer that must be treated as the deadly disease that it is.  It must be attacked and destroyed, ruthlessly and relentlessly, before it kills the whole body.

That is the bottom line.  The archbishop of Kampala speaks the truth.  The future of Anglicanism hangs in the balance.

David Handy+

August 14, 8:34 am | [comment link]
2. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

P.S., if the Elves don’t correct my typo’s, I will in this case.  In my haste, I misspelled the Ugandan primate’s name, twice, and in different ways to boot.  As I wrote to commend his clarion call for support of GAFCON II, let me set the record straight.  The bold archbishop is Stanley Ntagali.  May his tribe increase.

P.S.S.  I was there in Minneapolis ten years ago, as an AAC volunteer.  How well I remember that fateful and momentous day when TEC plunged over the cliff.  Although many of us were shocked and appalled, what stands out in my memory is my pride and joy in those stalwart orthodox leaders who rose to the challenge and stood firm in the midst of the storm.  Some of them, like my own bishop, +Dan Herzog of Albany, actually seemed to feel liberated, as if a great burden had suddenly been lifted from their shoulders.  We no longer had to pretend to get along with colleagues who had gone over to “the Dark Side.”

As Christians, we believe in a God who brings new life out of death.  We serve a risen Christ, and we are saved and sanctified by sharing in his death and resurrection.  That’s true not only individually but also corporately.  It may well be that Anglicanism on the global scale has to die, before it can be resurrected.  The old colonial, Erastian, Christendom-based, Elizabethan Settlement has to fully die, before the New Anglicanism can arise that will take its place.  But for those with the eyes to see it, that New Anglicanism is already taking shape through the GAFCON/GFCA movement.  Thanks be to God.

David Handy+

[Typos corrected as requested - Elf]

August 14, 8:48 am | [comment link]
3. Tegularius wrote:

Nice evidence here that opposition to homosexuality is absolutely the prime issue motivating GAFCON.

August 14, 9:15 am | [comment link]
4. Milton Finch wrote:

At first, I thought he was going to pronounce anathema.

August 14, 10:24 am | [comment link]
5. William McKeachie wrote:

Contrary to Tegularius [#3.], the Archbishop of Uganda’s statement gives evidence that the prime issue motivating GAFCON is the need to witness on behalf of the Word of God in biblical Revelation as over against the leadership of TEC and others for whom the transformation of Anglicanism into a quasi-spiritual movement more reflective of Hermann Hesse and Elaine Pagels than Jesus and St. Paul seems to be the implicit name of the game.

August 14, 11:42 am | [comment link]
6. Formerly Marion R. wrote:

Missed the Hermann Hesse part. Can you link me to an article?

August 14, 11:56 am | [comment link]
7. William McKeachie wrote:

For the motivation and game plan of Tegularius, see ‘The Glass Bead Game’ by Hesse, an uncannily accurate anticipation of the ‘prophetic’ (sic) voice of TEC in our time.

August 14, 12:06 pm | [comment link]
8. Richard A. Menees wrote:

FMR Try Steppenwolf or The Glass Bead Game

August 14, 12:25 pm | [comment link]
9. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #4
At this point that’s the only thing that can be done. Anything less is just acquiescence to heresy and apostasy. He may not want to hear it, but he and the other so called “orthodox” provinces of AC are in full communion with some or all of the apostate churches. That is a clear statement that rhetoric notwithstanding, the CofE and other members of the church of what’s happening now, have not in fact departed from the historic Christian Faith to any degree that would be considered as out of bounds.

Until communion is formally severed all we have is more of the AC’s endless supply of hot air. And on that subject I hold the Anglican Communion directly responsible for global warming.

August 14, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
10. Milton Finch wrote:

Completely and totally with you, Ad.

August 14, 1:15 pm | [comment link]
11. Cennydd13 wrote:

Umm, no, I must respectfully disagree in part.  The Church of England may not have overstepped the bounds to the extent that the Episcopal Church has, but they’re getting uncomfortably close to doing that.  TEC has in fact gone over the falls without a canoe and a paddle.

August 14, 1:55 pm | [comment link]
12. tjmcmahon wrote:

I would point out the Gafcon Primates have been pretty clear that they are not in communion with those bishops who have authorized SSBs, or a number of other practices.  Going back to 2003, the Province of SE Asia put out a specific statement naming individually each diocesan bishop who had voted to confirm VGR (including the then bishop of Nevada). Thankfully, the Gafcon and other GS Primates have also been clear in the support and full communion relationship with those bishops who have remained faithful to our Lord and His church, whether they remained in TEC or not.
  I think the Archbishop is making clear in this statement that he is fully prepared to refuse communion with any English or South African (or Scottish or Brazilian or ....) bishop who intends to follow the road laid out by TEC and Canada.

August 14, 2:03 pm | [comment link]
13. tjmcmahon wrote:

Statement of Breaking Communion - Province of SEA, 20 Nov 2003

Is there anything in that statement that is unclear or ambiguous?

August 14, 2:09 pm | [comment link]
14. Undergroundpewster wrote:

Can I send my revisionist bishop?

August 14, 3:05 pm | [comment link]
15. Catholic Mom wrote:

If your ecclesiology is that nothing of significance exists beyond the dioscesan level, then can you have individual bishops who are/are not in communion with other individual bishops.  If you are purporting to be a “Church” however, such an arrangement is incoherent.

This is the same reason that divving up the Church of England into dioceses that have women bishops and those that don’t and the ones that don’t won’t receive the sacraments from priests ordained by those who do is inherenly absurd.  That way leads chaos.  If something is truly a matter of “adiphora”—this diocese has altar girls, that one doesn’t—then it doesn’t matter if a person moves from one diocese to another.  But if dioceses are not in communion with one another—a person from one diocese cannot receive the sacraments in another diocese—then claiming that those dioceses taken together form some meaningful esscesiastic entity is just playing word games.  At some point you either have some mechanism for shared decision making which you all agree to abide by, or you split.  Or you form a “confederation” along the lines of the National Council of Churches.

August 14, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
16. Charles52 wrote:

CM - you are describing the first centuries of Christianity, during which bishops kept lists of those with whom they were and were not in Communion. That way, when Christians went travelling, they didn’t end up in the wrong congregation.

This is not a comment on Anglican matters (I don’t do that), but I can’t resist noting that 10 years ago, the Global South bishops put out a communique of 18-20 points. One concerned The Only Thing That Matters, and homosexualist ideologues were all over it like #3 above.  In other words: nothing to see, move right along.

August 14, 3:27 pm | [comment link]
17. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I would point out the Gafcon Primates have been pretty clear that they are not in communion with those bishops who have authorized SSBs, or a number of other practices.”

TJ, recall that Ad Orientem and others of the Eo and RC persuasion are defining “in full communion” as “subsisting within an organization together.”  ; > )

That being their definition of “in full communion” [and recall that they also don’t define “church” in the same way either] and that obviously not being *our* definition, their chant is quite dull and void anyway. We don’t share the same definitions of “in full communion” or “church” which is another way of saying “our theology is opposed”—which makes sense since they’re not Anglicans anyway.

August 14, 3:53 pm | [comment link]
18. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Nice evidence here that opposition to homosexuality is absolutely the prime issue motivating GAFCON.”

A bit rich, considering that the Chief Sacrament motivating revisionist activists like Tegularius is the public affirmation of gay sex. It’s important enough to them—of such paramount importance—that they are willing to defy Scripture, tradition, and reason, as well as demolish church unity.  All for ecclesial affirmation of gay sex.

That being the case, to bleat that those *opposed* to the noveau attempts at ecclesial affirmation of gay sex make that the “prime issue” is kinda . . . silly.  Stop making gay sex the Chief Sacrament around which you are willing to demolish The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, and I’m quite confident that those opposing that sacrament will be more than happy to move on to something else.

But . . . you can’t do that.  You *must* have a faux and forced attempt at an ecclesial affirmation of gay sex.  Pretending as if that’s not all that important to you is ridiculous since you’re willing to demolish a historic church over it.

And so here we are.

Expecting others to cease defending against revisionist activists’ continued assaults—their own Chief Sacrament of Meaning—is simply somebody “wishing this were all much easier.”

August 14, 4:00 pm | [comment link]
19. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

“It will all blow over in 6 months.”  Remember that prophecy by any number of teccites, particularly the then PB?  So much for “prophetic”.

August 14, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
20. Catholic Mom wrote:

Charles52—Yes, but those were Christian “cells” yet to be unified in any kind of structure.  They were quite busily pronouncing anathema on heterodox teachers/bishops.

It would be as if any restaurant was allowed to call themselves “McDonald’s” and use the golden arches in their advertising, but many of these so-called “McDonalds” restaurants followed completely different procedures than the majority, used different ingredients, maybe served horse meat instead of beef.  You would certainly keep lists of which “McDonalds” were legit and which weren’t.  And if you owned a “regular” McDonalds, you certainly wouldn’t hold yourself as being part of a national chain that included the spurious “McDonalds.”

August 14, 7:55 pm | [comment link]
21. Charles52 wrote:

CM -

No, they were specific local churches. Yes, there was not a settled organization above the local (we would say diocesan) level, except for periodic regional synods, I suppose.  Some of these churches, with their bishops, we would recognize as heretical, some not.  They were all hurling anathemas in all directions. 

It’s well to remember that from the beginning, groups were leaving the apostolic fellowship and forming other groups that were more or less Christian. I guess you could ask how “Christian” the Arians were. 

An excellent resource for reading about the period:

Communio: Church and Papacy in Early Christianity
by Ludwig Freiherr von Hertling

http://tinyurl.com/kys7q8e

August 14, 8:15 pm | [comment link]
22. Charles52 wrote:

Omitted my main point, as usual.  What Anglicanism is going through now is what Christian churches have gone through for 2000 years.

August 14, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
23. Ad Orientem wrote:

The best work I have found on the sacramental union and ecclesiology of the early Church is EUCHARIST, BISHOP, CHURCH: THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH IN THE DIVINE EUCHARIST AND THE BISHOP DURING THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES by Met. John Zizioulas. He is universally recognized as one of the foremost theologians in the modern world and is a close friend of Pope (E) Benedict XVI. I will however caution that it is not light reading.

August 14, 8:46 pm | [comment link]
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